back to article Achtung! German Amazon workers out on strike

Hundreds of workers at web bazaar Amazon’s central depot in Germany have walked out on strike in protest over working conditions and pay. Around 500 people protested on Tuesday at the box-crammers' Bad Hersfeld site, which is one of seven distribution points in the country. It is the first time Amazon workers have launched …

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  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Happy

    An idea

    Could they not just move the depot from Bad Hersfeld to Good Hersfeld, this solving all their problems at a stroke.

    I'm available for management consultancy work, at reasonable prices, should Mr Bezos need me...

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: An idea

      Actually in 2005 the town of "Kötzting" legally changed its name to "Bad Kötzting".

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_K%C3%B6tzting

  2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Presumably

    Amazon will just fulfil the orders from other depots in other countries.

    Welcome to the world of globalisation where the rest of us have to live.

    1. Oor Nonny-Muss
      Thumb Up

      Re: Presumably

      Indeed - the last 3 items I've ordered from Amazon Germany have shipped from Dunfermline... which suits me, because it's just over the Forth :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get back to work....

    ... I've got orders pending!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now back to vork !

    Or you vill be schott, erm ve mean fired.

  5. mark 63 Silver badge
    Holmes

    more info please

    So the obvious question that would put this whole thing in context and tell us wether its a storm in a teacup or a human rights abuse (whose right in other words) is

    "How much are they earning?"

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: more info please

      There was a big scandal here over Christmas and New Year, with the national TV station reporting on conditions there. The seasonal workers were flown in, with the promise of good wages, then forced to sign a contract for half that, or pay for their own flight back home...

      Then there was the security, they would frisk workers as they left the warehouse (not totally unknown in other copanies and industries), but the security would also rifle through the workers rooms in the holiday village that Amazon used to house the workers.

      Transport was also once per shift, which meant if you weren't out of the warehouse puntucally, you would have to wait several hours for the next bus back to the holiday village...

      I don't know what permanent employees earn.

      1. Equitas

        Re: more info please

        More info indeed required! How are we expected to know what "over here" means to big_D, who gives no indication of location?

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: more info please

          Sorry, here in Germany...

          1. mark 63 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: more info please

            hey thanks for the info D

            Seems very exploitative with the seasonal workers. Hopefully no ones lives were ruined if it was only a 5 or 6 week contract anyway

            word will get around for next year .......

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GMB Union...

    ...in favour of a 'pits' closure?

  7. Ralph B
    Big Brother

    My Prediction

    There's going to be a lot of Spanish seasonal workers replaced by Rumanians in a big warehouse in Bad Hersfeld.

    1. hamsterjam

      Re: My Prediction

      I saw that documentary and it was hair-raising. Systematic, brutish abuse of staff. Every conceivable loophole in the law being used to cheat and rob people who were in no position to argue.

      In my forty-odd years of dealing with them one thing I have learned is that the Germans believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, so these sorts of shenanigans (which have been standard practice in the UK for decades - see recent pieces on UK TV news about zero hours contracts) did indeed cause revulsion amongst the populace there.

      Not to mention disgust in my house. My opinion of Amazon was radically influenced, not in a positive way.

      1. Johan Bastiaansen
        Unhappy

        Re: My Prediction

        Saw it too. I'll never buy from Amazon again.

      2. Armando 123

        Re: My Prediction

        "I saw that documentary and it was hair-raising. Systematic, brutish abuse of staff. Every conceivable loophole in the law being used to cheat and rob people who were in no position to argue."

        Wait, is that Amazon or the US Congress?

    2. CaptSmegHead
      Thumb Up

      Re: My Prediction

      I didn't get to see that documentary. Does anybody know whether it is available anywhere online ?

      1. Ralph B

        Re: My Prediction

        @CaptSmegHead: Here's the video. (How's your German?)

        1. CaptSmegHead
          Thumb Up

          Re: My Prediction

          Thanks Ralph. My german is sehr gut.

  8. petur
    FAIL

    ORL?

    "as well as shares after two years of employment"

    Sure they do... except most of the staff are temporary and are recycled every few months

  9. DrXym Silver badge

    Those orders are piling up

    Orders which must be obeyed at all times.

  10. Alan Brown Silver badge

    It takes quite a bit...

    ...to get germans to strike.

    It takes even more to get casual workers of any nationality (usuallly non-unionised) to strike.

    They must be pretty pissed off.

    WRT the heatstroke story: There is no legal maximum temperature for British Workplaces. Several offices at $orkplace regularly exceed 42C (100F) in summer. I'm surprised noone here has been a victim.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: It takes quite a bit...

      Warehouse, factory floor and kitchen temps here regularly exceed 100F. Those workers that fell out simply weren't staying hydrated otherwise there wouldn't have been a problem. Either that or they were just a bunch of panty waists.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: It takes quite a bit...

        Yes, temperatures in factories and kitchens do regularly exceed 38c/100f but the law states that any time a worker feels their health is in danger (such as feeling dehydrated in this case) their supervisor must allow them to recover before putting them back to work. Something the supervisors involved in the warehouse incident denied the workers.

        1. Don Jefe
          Unhappy

          Re: It takes quite a bit...

          Oh. Then yes that is bad & the supervisors should be severely punished. Thanks for the info!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legislation

    We have this, and it is generally effective.

    I thought equivalents were pretty much universal. Apparently not?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Legislation

      No - and because there's no maximum in the UK, employers can pretty much brush off complaints by staff.

      Unpaid staff (such as postgrad students in universities) have even less protection. Unsurprisingly, universities house them accordingly.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope the workers win

    Amazon is all about worker exploitation, IMO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hope the workers win

      yes

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    former amazon customer

    I was a US customer of Amazon until 2012 (about $25,000 USD total in that time). After I heard about workers in Pennsylvania being forced to work in the extreme heat, to the point that a local emergency room physician finally blew the whistle and reported Amazon to the U.S. Occupational and Health Administration, I decided I would never spend another penny at Amazon.

    I applaud the German workers and wish that all Americans would stand up for their fellows by boycotting Amazon for life, as I have.

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